Schools are teaching critical race theory, even as liberal education reporters deny it is taught anywhere, and falsely claim it is not taught in even a single school system.
Detroit’s school superintendent, Nikolai Vitti, says critical race theory is deeply embedded in his school system: “Our curriculum is deeply using critical race theory, especially in social studies, but you’ll find it in English language arts and the other disciplines. We were very intentional about…embedding critical race theory within our curriculum.”
His school district is not alone. Twenty percent of urban school teachers report having discussed or taught critical race theory with K-12 students, as have 8 percent of teachers nationally, according to an Education Week survey. The Seattle public school district has employed a critical race theorist who applies the controversial theory to school policies and practices as part of the district’s efforts to embed it in elementary schools.
“Unequivocally, critical race theory is taught in K-12 public schools,” said the Heritage Foundation’s Jonathan Butcher, noting he wrote a research paper detailing numerous instances of school districts openly using the phrase “critical race theory” in curriculum plans.
Seattle Public Schools notes that its “Black Studies” class includes critical race theory. “Critical Race Theory” is also “explicitly included in a course at Ballard High School in Seattle,” reports the conservative Washington Examiner. Seattle is injecting critical race theory into its curriculum, including a mandatory Black Studies course “that will be required for graduation from Seattle Public Schools.”
Yet, education reporters — almost all of whom are progressives — insist that no school system anywhere is teaching critical race theory. America has thousands of school systems, with widely varying curriculums, so reporters can’t possibly know what each and every school district teaches. But they claim that no school system anywhere teaches critical race theory, despite a wealth of evidence to the contrary.
In November, after the teaching of critical race theory in K-12 schools had become a national political issue, Washington Post education reporter Hannah Natanson wrote that critical race theory “is not taught at the K-12 level in Virginia — or anywhere else in the country.” Education reporters Laura Meckler and Timothy Bella wrote on Nov. 8 that “critical race theory…is not taught by any K-12 systems.” The Washington Post’s Paul Schwartzman wrote that “it is not part of classroom teaching.” The Post’s Aaron Blake claimed that schools “don’t actually teach it.” The Washington Post editorial board wrote that “critical race theory is not part of local school systems’ K-12 curriculum….There’s scant evidence it’s taught anywhere.”
The Post’s Sarah Pulliam Bailey claimed that critical race theory is “an intellectual movement that examines the way policies and laws perpetuate systemic racism and is not part of the public school curriculum.”
But it is in some schools’ curriculum, and it is not just an “intellectual movement” aimed at addressing racism or discrimination. Critical race theory is a radical ideology that is hostile to the free market economy, equating it with racism: “To love capitalism is to end up loving racism. To love racism is to end up loving capitalism….Capitalism is essentially racist; racism is essentially capitalist,” says the best-selling book promoting critical race theory, "How to Be An Antiracist." That book is a “comprehensive introduction to critical race theory,” gushes the leading progressive media organ Slate.
And what does it teach? Not ending discrimination. The “key concept” in Ibram Kendi’s book "How to Be an Antiracist" is that discrimination against whites is the only way to achieve equality: “The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination,” writes Kendi in that book. Kendi is a leading “critical race theorist.”
If state education bureaucracies had their way, critical race theory would become more common in school curriculums. In 2015, Virginia’s Department of Education instructed public schools to “embrace critical race theory” in order to “reengineer attitudes and belief systems.'”
Virginia’s largest school system, the Fairfax County Public Schools, now encourages teachers to apply to apply critical race theory. The Washington Times reports that a “slide presentation this summer instructed social studies teachers in Fairfax County Public Schools that ‘critical race theory is a frame’ for their work.”
The Arlington County schools have students read books by critical race theorists such as Ibram Kendi. Arlington distributed hundreds of copies of Ibram Kendi’s book “Stamped” to students at Wakefield High School. The book contains many errors and celebrates a Marxist anti-Semite. It also peddles conspiracy theories and is dismissive about Martin Luther King and Frederick Douglass.
The Loudoun County, VA public schools paid a contractor to train their staff in critical race theory, giving it $3,125 to conduct “Critical Race Theory Development.”
Virginia’s official “Roadmap to Equity” published by its Department of Education in 2020 thanked critical race theorist “Dr. Ibram X. Kendi” in its acknowledgments section, as having “informed the development of the EdEquityVA Framework.” Kendi says he was “inspired by critical race theory,” and that he cannot “imagine a pathway to” his teachings “that does not engage CRT.”
Hans Bader practices law in Washington, D.C. After studying economics and history at the University of Virginia and law at Harvard, he practiced civil-rights, international-trade, and constitutional law. He also once worked in the Education Department.